The Observation Deck at 300 boasts 360-degree views of Abu Dhabi’s stunning skyline, which you can enjoy while you idle away your day with a spot of high tea.
You will feel on top of the world as you savour light bites and refreshing hot beverages from one of the best vantage points in the city.
If you’re after a spot to impress your friends and family, aim high and you won’t be let down. Dhs85 (including Dhs50 voucher to be redeemed on the day of your visit). Daily 2pm-5pm. Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, West Corniche, Abu Dhabi, www.jumeirah.com (02 811 5666).
Try top-class Indian Food at Tamba
A progressive take on Indian cuisine served in a super-cool setting Tamba may have only swung open its doors in 2016, but it has already built up a deserved reputation as one of the best dining destinations in Abu Dhabi.
Traditional Indian flavours are served up with a modern twist here, all set against a sleek and sophisticated restaurant setting. The eatery made such a big impression on the Time Out team that it scooped a Highly Commended Award in the Best Newcomer category in our 2016 Restaurant Awards. The venue has only gone from strength-to-strength since and we are huge fans of the ever-evolving menu that provides diners with an authentic taste of North Indian cuisine boasting a level of refinement you would have to travel far and wide to match.
Tamba has spiced up the Abu Dhabi dining scene and is a can’t-miss treat. Open Sun-Thu noon-1am, Fri-Sat noon-2am. The Hub at The Mall at the World Trade Center Abu Dhabi, www.tambarestaurant.com (02 672 8888).
Dine Around Al Maryah Island
A string of excellent restaurants makes this Abu Dhabi’s prime foodie spot You can enjoy the whole world on a plate when you hop over to this gastronomic Island destination.
The Galleria is home to one of the most impressive rosters of restaurants in the whole of the UAE. The culinary big-hitters already taking pride of place in the massive retail and leisure hub include award-winning Japanese favourite Zuma, trendy Turkish steakhouse Nusr-Et (middle), classy Italian Roberto’s, lively Latino spot Loca, ever-popular Peruvian venue Coya and high quality Chinese eatery Dai Pai Dong. As if that wasn’t enough, classic continental restaurant, La Petite Maison and 99 Sushi Bar & Restaurant joined them in late 2017.
Away from the luxury venues, there are more casual cafés and bars, such as Eat Greek and Bentley, available, too. If ever you had to be stranded on an island, you’d make it this one. Various venues. The Galleria, Al Maryah Island, Abu Dhabi.
This cosy, casual spot in Dubai’s JLT serves Thai like no other in the city
You can go on a culinary voyage packed with cool bars, classy restaurants and a belt-busting roster of takeaways in Dubai’s Jumeirah Lakes Towers – and it’s easy to miss a hidden gem or two along the way.
One such place is Café Isan. This cosy venue serves up terrific tastes from Isan, the region in North Eastern Thailand from which it takes its name.
Food here is lighter than in most Thai restaurants, the curries and soups are clear rather than coconut-based and carry a bit more spice.
The spring rolls are crammed with plenty of vegetables and a lovely chilli sauce, and you can even opt for a chocolate version for dessert. (Don’t judge until you’ve tried, it’s delicious.)
Café Isan is a real labour of love for its owners and that passion comes through in the excellent service and quality food. The prices are very reasonable, too, which is why it was a deserving winner in the Best Budget category of the Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards in 2017. Open daily noon-11pm. Cluster M, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Dubai, www.cafeisan.com (056 618 5785).
Afternoon tea at the world’s most iconic hotel
Because you need to get a picture inside the sail-shaped Burj Al Arab
The Jumeirah Burj Al Arab is one of the most striking buildings in the world. Google “Dubai” and that’s the first picture that you’ll see. Come to the city and it’s visible from pretty much every point. It’s a real icon.
Its beauty is that despite towering above everything around it, the building doesn’t look out of place. Rising from the sea off the Umm Suqeim coast, the sail-shaped structure fits perfectly into its surroundings. It’s awe-inspiring. And that’s just the outside.
Once you get inside (and you’ll have to have a reservation at the hotel or one of the restaurants to do that), you’ll be greeted by one of the most gloriously opulent lobbies you’ll find anywhere.
We recommend taking afternoon tea in Sahn Eddar, visiting the swish Gold on 27 bar or heading out to the back of the building where you’ll find the most casual venue in the hotel, Scape (which is still pretty impressive) on the stunning outdoor terrace.
We’ve talked about Nathan Outlaw at Al Mahara elsewhere in this guide, so you know we recommend that, too.
If you’re here and don’t go to Burj Al Arab, you’re missing out. Umm Suqeim, Dubai (04 301 7777).
The Dubai district has restaurants from some seriously respected names
One of Dubai’s hippest districts is also one of the city’s most desirable dining destinations, whether you’re after a fine-dining dinner for two or a laidback afternoon tea.
Nestled amid the chic shopping areas of the cool, European-style stretch are a number of restaurants with international flavour. Plenty of big names have already made their mark in City Walk, including German Tim Raue, whose eponymous restaurant in Berlin has two Michelin stars. His contemporary Asian restaurant Dragonfly is one of City Walk’s highlights.
If you’re after something more continental, check out the Galvin Brothers, who have brought their stylish Demoiselle brand (a bistro with quality French cuisine) out of the UK for the first time. They have a second, more high-end venue, Galvin Dubai, just around the corner from Lima Dubai and Toro & Ko, another pair of brilliant eateries.
The area is also lined with cute cafés, such as The Victorian, an elegant spot serving up classic English tastes. And if you’ve got a sweet tooth, your chocolate-covered dreams will come true at Cocoa Kitchen, which serves chocolate on everything. (Yum.)
We think it’s time you took an enjoyable stroll through City Walk. Various venues. Al Safa Street, Dubai, www.citywalk.ae.
It was game over for the competition as Play Restaurant & Lounge cleaned up at the 2017 Time Out Dubai Restaurant Awards. It was crowned best Asian Restaurant and the overall Restaurant of the Year for good reason, as everything about the place exudes luxury. From the slick, dark interiors and fantastic views from the 36th floor of The H Dubai hotel, to the beautifully crafted “Mediterrasian” cuisine – blending light Mediterranean flavours with bold tastes of Asia – this is a venue with “winner” written all over it.
The sheer quality on show here should come as little surprise, however, as the kitchen team is expertly led by Reif Othman, whose culinary genius created a big impression during his successful stint at another UAE Time Out award-winner, Zuma.
Both the restaurant and the bar get very busy – so make a reservation or risk missing out on a brilliant dining experience.
Play time is always a great time. Open Sat-Wed 6pm-2am, Thu-Fri 6pm-3am. The H Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road, www.playrestaurants.com (04 336 4444).
Dine around the Venetian Village
A pretty collection of top-class restaurants that rival any in the UAE
As if the super-swanky Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal wasn’t amazing enough, it has this dazzling dining district on its doorstep.
The vibrant Venetian Village gives a nod to the UAE’s rich heritage through authentic Emirati eatery Al Fanar, with a statue of a camel outside providing a warm welcome to this tasty slice of the past. You can celebrate the glitz and glamour of the present at Barfly by Buddha-Bar, a cool bar and restaurant serving Asian and Latin eats, and one of the best ladies’ nights around.
You can eat your way around the world here, with fantastic French flavours at Brasserie Flo, Italian-inspired cuisine at Todd English’s Olives, the Japanese joys of Inakaya and North Indian culinary pleasures at Punjab Grill.
Make sure you take in the beautiful Renaissance-inspired architecture as you make your way around the winding cobblestones to your next dining destination. The Venetian Village is a great place whether you’re a long-term UAE resident or just visiting on holiday. Open daily 12.30pm-11pm. The Ritz-Carlton Abu Dhabi, Grand Canal, Khor Al Maqta, Abu Dhabi, www.venetianvillage.ae (02 408 7201).
Dubai’s financial centre is also home to some of the best restaurants in the UAE
If you are on the lookout for the highest concentration of top-quality restaurants in Dubai, you will be in business in the city’s financial centre.
Dubai International Financial District (DIFC) is home to a tasty roster of culinary big-hitters spanning cuisines from all over the globe.
Leading the way is prolific award-winner Zuma, which brings an extra sprinkling of flair and finesse to Japanese food. If you fancy making a French connection, then plot a course to classy La Petite Maison or find some Italian inspiration at Roberto’s or Cipriani. For a more Spanish choice, head to BOCA.
The ultimate surf and turf experience is served up at Burger & Lobster, while meat-lovers will be on cloud nine at sizzling South American steakhouse Gaucho. There’s loads more to choose from besides, with pub grub available at Jekyll & Hyde, too.
Alternatively, if you want a bit more spice in your life, head down to Indian eatery Mint Leaf of London.
You can have the world on a plate at Dubai’s most mouth-watering and trendy dining destination. Various venues. DIFC, Dubai, www.difc.ae.
Indulge in molecular gastronomy
Indian cuisine has seen a rise in a new kind of cooking and presentation
Remember when the only utensils you needed for a meal were a knife and fork (okay, and a spoon for dessert)?
Now courses come served in a test tube amid a hail of liquid nitrogen, or are created at your table. Sometimes even ON your table.
The ever-popular dining trend of molecular gastronomy has been fully embraced by purveyors of Indian cuisine here in the UAE. If you don’t mind your dinner table looking like a chemistry set has invaded it, you can’t help but be won over by the flamboyance and good old-fashioned fun of it all. Carnival by Trèsind, in DIFC, is one of the standard bearers in the city, bringing a real sense of theatre to food. It’s the playful little brother of the already-a-bit-mad Trèsind (middle) on Sheikh Zayed Road.
For a more casual way of enjoying the same style, Farzi Café in City Walk is also a top spot to check out this fun way of dining. Carnival by Trèsind: Open daily noon-2am. Burj Daman, DIFC, Dubai (052 242 4262). Tresind: Open daily noon-3.30pm, 6.30pm-11.30pm. Nassima Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai (04 308 0440). Farzi Café: Open Sun-Wed 10am-11pm; Thu-Sat 10am-midnight. City Walk, Al Safa Street, Dubai (04 394 2556).